I’ve made the (maybe) controversial decision to omit an acknowledgements page in Snake Island. This was a difficult decision, and mostly stems from my inability to thank every single person that helped Snake Island become what it is. Once I start walking down a track I find it really hard to stop. I end up thanking the bully in high school who used to force me to do his physics work in addition to my own for making me toughen up and giving me material for Brendan in the novel who is a huge jerk. And the acknowledgements end up being ten pages long. So. I’ve decided I would like to pay a bit of an homage to the people who helped make Snake Island here! This way I can keep it brief, and add people as they come to mind later on. I want to list three today.
- Adam Byatt. Adam is a tremendously kind individual, in addition to being a very gifted writer. I sent a tweet out into the nether asking if anybody would be interested in helping take a look at a very early Snake Island manuscript, and Adam, gratefully, said yes.
Now. Here’s the thing. Adam didn’t just read the novel and give me general ideas. He laboured over a, from my memory, at least a seven page document, listing each character in their strengths, and areas for improvement. It was a massive help, and Snake Island wouldn’t be what it is today without his help. Find an Adam in your creative life.
Adam’s first novel, written in conjunction with Jodi Cleghorn, is a cracking read you should all take a gander at. Postmarked Piper’s Reach will be published in late July 2019. The thing I like about it most is how it is unflinching in presenting a difficult relationship – just like real life, there are no easy answers. It is authentic and vivid and worth checking out.
- Tim Causbrook. I met Tim a very long time ago, during my Sounds Like Chicken years. We lost touch after I moved to Queensland, but he emailed me out of the blue when he heard my question being read out on the BBC World Book Club Podcast (it was very strange – it’s the Marilynne Robinson episode if anybody’s curious!) – since then we’ve had many chats about writing in general, and bounced ideas off one another. Tim is probably the most like-minded individual I’ve met, and I find talking to him helps me get my compass bearings right. If I have self-doubt, or questions, he’s always available for a chat. I really value his friendship, and look forward to seeing his debut novel published (agents bookmark this name right now) because it’s supremely my cup of tea. He also has a keen dress sense. And he’s a musician. In your creative life, you also need a Tim.
- My friend Paul Stephens. Paul is not an aspiring novelist. Nor is he really that into reading. But you know who travelled with me for forty-five minutes the other night into the city to watch QUT students read out their works at a bar and then travel back with me? You know who read the first drafts of both my books and also many of the ones that weren’t published? You know who wrote and starred in a terrible kung-fu comedy I directed straight out of high school? You know who versed me in Goldeneye64 and held the controller really strange and could never quite learn how I’d memorise all the spawn positions in Facility and grew super mad that I’d be at his new spawn point before he spawned to shoot him before he could begin? You know who I’ve known since bloody kindergarten and am still great friends with? That’s right. It’s this bloke Paul Stephens. Paul has an innate story-sense and is one of the smartest movie reviewers I know (he doesn’t write them anymore, but if you’re keen, here’s a link to his 2013 blog) but what makes him valuable is the way he supports me, even though I know he’s not super-interested in the things I care about. He’s the guy who goes with his mate to the footy-game, even though he doesn’t really like footy. He’s always been there for me, and he’s a total champ. Get you a Paul, too.
In an effort to prove to you all that I really have known this bloke my whole life, I’ve decided to show you one of the worst photos of me in known existence. This was us heading to Big Day Out 2001. This. This. I can’t even look at it really. I hope you understand my bravery. Ugh all of my choices.
I haven’t actually ever met Adam in real life, and Tim I haven’t seen in probably a decade at least, so I’m really hoping when I travel with Snake Island that we can catch up. Paul I still see nearly every week. Inseparable, we are. But golly. I truly thank these three. Without them Snake Island wouldn’t exist at all.